Every summer thousands of families across the United States make the decision to install a pool. They imagine hours of endless family fun, but often forget about the dangers that these pools can pose. However, there are many things that families can do to keep their children safe around pools.

First, every pool whether in-ground or above ground should be installed with a safety fence. For above ground pools, this safety fence should include a removable or lift-able ladder that makes it difficult to enter the pool. For in-ground pools, the pool area should be completely enclosed. Homeowners are discouraged from using the back of the house as part of their pool fencing because this does not create the safest environment for children. In addition, the pool area should have a self-closing gate that swings outwards to ensure it closes behind people exiting the pool area.

Second, all children regardless of their age should be enrolled in a Red Cross Certified swim program if a pool is going to be installed or already exists at their home. These programs teach children proper pool safety and to be cautious around pools. In addition, these programs give children the skills needed to become proficient swimmers in the event that they were to fall into a pool. Swimming lessons are truly invaluable for all children.

Third, homeowners should consider installing alarms on all house doors that enter into the backyard and specifically the pool area. These alarms will alert parents if a door is opened and can prevent curious children from entering the pool or pool area without a parent’s knowledge. These small door alarms can be purchased at any hardware store and are simple to install.

Last, parents should never leave their children unattended near water. This includes the bathtub, hottubs or pools.Children often become overconfident when left alone in these situations which can lead to drowning. Sunset Pools & Spas, a company which installs inground swimming pools in Chicago, says that, “If a parent needs to leave the pool area for any reason, the child should also exit the pool and pool area. Small children don’t understand the risks involved and shouldn’t be left alone near water.”

Swimming pools can be great additions to any family backyard as long as parents understand the risks involved and take the necessary precautions to ensure endless summers of fun. Be sure to educate your children about pool and water safety.